Friday, July 15, 2011

Overheard: July 15

A 'destined to be a classic' post from a familiar name opens this week's list of favorite governance links.

Board members: Rocket fuel or Rocks? (Lucy Marcus)

Let's be honest: she had me at the great headline. I opened the link while waiting to facilitate a governance session with a local board, and I must admit that it lingered in the back of my mind throughout that event. I couldn't wait to get to a computer to read this post more closely. There are many reasons to add this one to my "board essentials" reading list (which I did). One of the more compelling was the focus on what the individual board member needs to know to "mak(e) the boardroom a dynamic, productive place." She shifted the focus of board responsibility to knowing/engaging vs. doing, which is a healthy place to spend a bit of time and energy. Lucy challenges board members to not just sit back and whine about boring and unproductive meetings, but to immerse themselves in learning that makes governance more personally fulfilling and more effective. We hope that board members would read this and think Lucy is stating the painfully obvious. We don't always see evidence that that would be the case.

Methods for collecting and using your nonprofit's stories (Movie Mondays)

Maybe it's because I'm putting the finishing touches on a workshop on boundary-spanning boards, but this one leaped out immediately as a must-share here. While not targeting boards directly, the content of the video - articulating and sharing the stories that make your mission come to life - absolutely fits board responsibilities.

Extreme makeover: Boards edition (GuideStar)

If you engage on Twitter or Facebook, this one may be familiar. It circulated widely in social media communities as it was released. This post resonated for me for a couple of reasons. First, it opened with a series of questions designed to engage board members in deep, governance-appropriate reflection. Second, it offered tips (and a call for patience for inevitably hard work) for engaging in whatever change is identified as needed.  I wouldn't say they've shared anything terribly detailed or revolutionary. But they offer a fresh, friendly way of thinking about assessment and action.

How to unleash your board members energy for fundraising (Gail Perry)

Gail shares both a link to a radio interview she conducted with "Giving Show" host Michael Chatman and a post outlining the highlights of that talk. Is it possible to have too many words of counsel on this vexing topic? Many would say no. As is typical of her writing, Gail packages her expert advice in ways that will make sense (and feel less scary) for executives and board leaders wrestling with this challenge.

Results of new Daring to Lead study on nonprofit leadership - What a board should know
(Marion Conway)

While boards ultimately should read and consider every word of the Daring to Lead 2011 report, blogger Marion Conway does them a favor by pulling out and discussing several key findings that relate specifically to board responsibilities. Be sure to visit her blog, where she goes into greater depth on the report. Read her blog, anyway, because she's a fantastic writer and thinker.

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